Ukraine’s parliament sprang into action on Sunday and voted their speaker Oleksandr Turchynov interim president until elections are held on May 25. They passed a resolution on Saturday that ousted President Viktor Yanukovich and called for early elections on May 25 after three months of protests in Independence Square in Kiev.
- They now have the ability to appoint and fire judges.
- They fired Igor Temkizhev.
- Parliament nullified a law that allowed regional use of minority languages. Areas were allowed to use Russian in business and education.
- 237 MPs are in favor of firing Leonid Kozhara, head of the foreign ministry.
- They will also discuss the European Union Association Agreement. Yanukovich rejected it in November and agreed to a $15 billion bailout from Russia. This action started the protests in Kiev.
- A bill is on the table to banish Yanukovich’s Party or Regions and the Communist Party.
- They voted to return Yanukovich’s lavish estate back to the state.
On Friday, Yanukovich signed a deal with the opposition in hopes of ending the political turmoil that violently accelerated on February 18. He then took off for Kharkiv, which is in east Ukraine and where his party had a strong turnout in the last election.
At the same time, political prisoner Yulia Tymenshenko was released from prison after three years in Kharkiv. She was Yanukovich’s opponent in the 2010 election and was promptly prosecuted after she lost. The majority of the West views her imprisonment as political. She made her way to the Square on Saturday night and spoke to the protesters. She made it known she will run for president in May.
Yanukovich said he would not step down and there were many speculations he tried to leave the country, but border security did not allow him to pass. A CCTV video allegedly shows Yanukovich and his aides leaving via helicopter. It is unknown if this was taken when he left Kiev or elsewhere.